Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week #8 Recap

Monday--3 miles: 29.30 (ish)
Tuesday--3.0695 miles: 30.01 (exact)

These two days had great runs. Monday's was at the gym. Had some unexpected cheerleading, which was really encouraging. Even ending my run in her honor listening to a little Sasha Fierce (Beyonce, for those who weren't positive).
Tuesday, I ran outside our little three mile run and it felt pretty good. This run/walk thing has enabled me to build up some endurance that allows me to run for a bit longer than 10 minutes before a walk break. Although, my knee usually tells me when it needs a break and that often happens right around 11 minutes, but who's timing?

I was supposed to run on Thursday, but we left for a wedding on Thursday morning and I didn't pack hardly anything the night before, so . . .no run.

But really I was saving all of my extra stored energy for Saturday's 11 mile run in Canada
Saturday: who knows how far--our best guess, 12-13 miles
who knows how long--about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Why don't I know such basic information about a run that took over two hours? Well, that's because we got totally, seriously, and completely lost in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada during our run. Not just a little lost, really lost, like call up Eric's parents and tell them we don't know where we are but we have just run for over two hours and we need them to come find us and bring us back to the hotel--that's seriously lost.

Did we plan to be that lost? No, that's a silly question. Eric was the man with a plan. He spent a good hour trying to find and map a suitable run for us. But no plan can work when you leave the hotel and immediately go in the wrong direction. Oops! After a short while we came to a road that he had planned for us to run on, but not at that time--it was the road that we were essentially supposed to come out of and then finish up our run. So we decided to follow it for a while--we passed some nice parks and ran through a seriously new and huge and crammed-together subdivision before we came out near a place where we were supposed to run, so we sorta continued to follow the plan from there--ran for a while down River street to Lorraine. But then Eric was concerned that if we had turned around at that point and just run back to the hotel (which we could have done with no problems) that we wouldn't have enough mileage for the day. So we kept running. . .

Down Lorraine to Heritage (where again Eric thought we should turn around--but I am not one for turning around, it sorta sounds like a horrible idea). So we turned onto Heritage. That's where we left the semblance of anything that we knew and ventured into guessing territory. Down Heritage to a light at Ottawa (which we recognized)--I was hoping we would simply run down Ottawa until we reached another cross-street we recognized and thereby return to home. Umm, no. The man with the plan saw the name of a street that was on the original run list and opted down that street. So up Oldfield we go (at this point we have been running for 1 hour 40 minutes--I know this because we had our second Gu and a water walk break on Oldfield.) We get to a light on a major road (which we had never seen before, but would have been really nice to have known--it would have saved us a great deal) But Eric realizes that Oldfield turns into Zeller, which is again on his list--so we proceed into the Subdivision Of Doom! (insert ominous sound effects here!)

Running along, getting ready to be done, but still feeling okay--Zeller turns into Old Zeller. It was a huge subdivision, lots of houses jammed really tightly together, but lots of construction still yet to be done. Somewhere along this road a sweet lady stopped and asks us for directions to the Radisson (which is where we happen to be staying). We give her the directions that we are following--take Zeller to Projected Rd to Fairway to the hotel. Not an issue--except that Projected Road was not a street name, it was a projected road to be built by the subdivision. Um, yeah. So we send this ladies off thinking that we Americans have done such a great service.

As we run down Zeller we see the ladies turn, but never ourselves do we find Projected Road. In fact it looks like Zeller DEAD ENDS--into a river. But handily enough, there is a trail off the road--the Grand River Trail. Well, this is something we recognize, Eric looked at it when trying to find a run for us. So we think that this will get us somewhere. And on this trail we realize we have been running for enough over two hours that E's parents (who are graciously watching the kids) might start getting worried) and that we don't see where this trail gets off (although it was a beautiful trail). Oh wait, isn't that the farm that we passed way earlier on Zeller Road? Oh no!

At this point we have called for help. Eric's Dad and brother come to rescue us. But not before we manage to find our way out of the massively, huge and winding Subdivision of DOOM! (enter ominous soundtrack)

Although we were lost, it was a pretty great run. It was a cloudy and not too warm day, occasional drips of rain, a nice breeze. And my running partner was pretty great. Together we kept it from being a tense (although there were moments--like Ottawa and Oldfield) and instead we had a nice adventure. However at the end, our legs felt like they were empty, out of energy stores. Mine sorta felt like they were going to start cramping in order to find more energy stores. And now, we both feel it, my knee is very stiff and Eric (and my) legs are tired. I think tomorrow is going to be a sore morning. Oh well. We're still in Canada-there's more adventuring to do yet!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Week #7 Recap

Hmmm, what to say about this week? Well,

Tuesday--3 miles
Saturday--10.28 miles

This was a frustrating week. I couldn't seem to get the runs I needed to in. So many things foiled my efforts--the kids, Eric's job, my inability to be flexible when an opportunity to run appeared. It made me think a lot during my run today (in order to avoid thinking about the creaks and aches in my knees and ankles)--am I nuts? Who am I to think that I can juggle all these things--a young, demanding family, a strong need for plenty of sleep, a husband with an unpredictable work schedule--enough to be able to train properly for a full marathon. That, and I am slow--honestly, I am okay with my slowness, but the idea of running for almost 5 hours on marathon day is very mind-boggling to me. Even today--I woke up, fed the kids, gave instructions to Ana and started to run, was home just before 11. That's half the day gone. Is this worth my time?
I think it is, but I have to be realistic about what I can pull off in this life I lead. Can I do this, should I do this without sacrificing my family and my sanity? And my life is soon to be crazier (not simpler) as we start homeschooling in just about a month. If I were being completely honest with you, I would tell you that I keep asking God to tell me "No, don't do it", to make it clear and definite--and that's not the answer I get--instead I hear God tell me to keep going, pound out one more mile, that He will get me through this. I sorta am beginning to think that I need to prove to myself that I am capable of such a feat, especially since giving up seems a nice option.

But enough of my mental games with myself. Despite not getting to run as I should have this week, today's 10 miles by myself was remarkable pleasant. And I did it on my own--Eric was recovering from too many late nights (or mornings) at work. Of course, I'm slow, but I did it--no extra breaks and I ran exactly as I should have. My knee wasn't too bothersome and the other creaks were just complaints. GU is a wonderful invention, I think it helped a great deal! There was some nice sun at the beginning and a great breeze at the end. It was a nice run. I actually can say that I enjoyed myself. I think that statement, all on its own, marks me as a woman in need of some counseling (or a vacation retreat at a wonderful spa!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week #6 Recap

Okay folks, I'm really in it--even seasoned runners are training for the marathon by now. I think it is fair to say "I AM A MARATHONER!"

Monday--3 miles (30.47)
No biggie, three miles on the track. Ran well. Felt great in my feet (not so great in my knee). Ran two great miles (both at 10.04) and a fairly slow last one.
What did I learn today? Well, you can't drink pop all weekend and then expect to feel well hydrated for a run on Monday morning. Oops! I guess diet and hydration really does matter (which I already knew, but am marking this because of my own stupidity). So now I am actually contemplating a diet adjustment for the duration of this challenge (which is interesting to type considering the fact that I am sipping a Coke as I type this). I think I will even more severely limit both my alcohol and pop consumption for the next 14 weeks, especially on days before I need to run. And I will up my intake of water--because that makes sense, is healthy, and really, water generally. Starting tomorrow. . . ;o

Tuesday--3 miles (34.35)
Ick! What a slow, sluggish run. If I run this slow all the time--a marathon will feel like forever. I don't even want to run another 3 miles that slowly. In fact, I'm afraid that I might just throw in the towel. I don't want to run this slowly.
On a minor note, my knee is achy today. I don't like these aches and pains. Is this going to be the way that it is? Do I just have to deal with this throughout the whole time? Am I strong enough to deal with a pain? Not to just throw in the towel because it is hard?
As Lance Armstrong told me yesterday during my workout: "Pain is temporary, Quitting is forever!" Thanks, Lance.

Thursday--0 miles
I've had a hard time working this run into my life. For some reason it never works out that I can get this run in--like this morning, I was supposed to go out at 7 a.m., but then I was up with Olivia for two hours--it's pretty hard to get up to run when you haven't got enough sleep. Then, I was going to go out later in the afternoon, but to be honest, I don't like running in the afternoon--it cuts into the rest of life and disrupts the regularly scheduled programming. So I didn't run.

But then Friday came and I ran
Friday--2.45 miles (24.21)
Oh goodie, the kids are at zoo school and I can take OG to the gym for a few minutes and get in one more run this week before the long run. I quit a bit before I should have, but I didn't want to push too hard because tomorrow I am going to run 9 Miles! Ack! Am i nuts? (and I believe that the answer should be affirmative!)

Saturday--9 miles (1:38:30)
Yikes! Today we ran 9 miles. What do I say about a run like this? Parts of it felt great, parts felt awful. There were times when my legs felt great and there were other times where they felt as though they were made of lead (which Eric so kindly pointed out is at least partially correct). Towards the end (about mile 8, heading into the finish) my legs and knees were done--they didn't want to run anymore. I kept going, but there definitely wasn't any sprinting at the end of this run.
Only complaints--still working out the knee thing, I don't want to complicate my entire life by ruining my ability to walk by hurting my knee. And, I've got a hot spot where I could very likely develop a nasty blister. But really, I was tired and very hungry after I was done but I was okay. And now I have a week left to psych myself up for a 10 mile run.
At some point I am going to have to get over the "this is the farthest that I have ever run" attitude. At some point the novelty needs to wear off (which it is, quickly).
Also, I am noting that my emotional commitment to the whole marathon race aspect is very volatile--as in one day I feel great that I am a marathoner and then next I wonder if I have it in me to complete. I think that these are normal, human emotions, but seriously, I wish that I could just know that I can do it--just look ahead in the magic ball and see myself crossing the finish line and know that the aches and pains and inconveniences and determination are all worth it, that I am better person at the end of this. There were moments during this run when I seriously thought--"well, a half marathon is respectable as well" but I don't want to give myself that out yet. There is no reason to--I still have 14 weeks to get there. And by the Strength of God, I will.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
(it's a lot easier to quote that one than live it sometimes!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week #5 Recap

Not all content suitable for the faint of heart, the young, or male. Read at your own discretion.

A Disclaimer: Week Five has proved to be difficult because of the regular cycle of hormones that drive me nuts for a couple days every month. Some the language and words therein might reflect this reality. If you find this to be uncomfortable or awkward, you may not want to continue--You have been warned!

Monday: 3 Miles (31.20--10.18/10.28/10.33)
Running: Good
Feet: Good (for 2.5 miles--muscled through the last .5)
Attitude: Pretty Great! Today's run was fantastic, even though it was at the gym!
Running Philosophy: Run/Walk--Ohh, you've never heard of this one? Well, it's a miracle for people like me who can't run continually for long distances and who are very refreshed from a brief walk. Today, I ran for a full mile and then walked to recover for 1 minute. As you can tell, it didn't affect my time seriously. I actually think that might have had a slightly better time because of it.
The Run/Walk practice was started by a man named Jeff Galloway and it has helped many people who were not able to run long distances very fast to accomplish more by working in brief periods of walking into their run. This allows the body to recuperate and replenish a bit before the next amount of strenuous activity. In training for a long run, someone who wants to run 10 minute miles would run for 3 minutes and walk for 1. I find this a bit excessive, especially since I can run a couple miles fairly well. But I like the idea of a break, both physically and mentally. And after I have had a very brief break (I am really not able to do most runs without one) I run stronger, faster, and more fluidly. It just feels better. But we'll see. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Oh, and I have a very skeptical running partner who wants to RUN a marathon (to which I responded, well, you run, I will complete it in my goal time and feel better than you!). Eric is very skeptical that you can walk as part of a run and not lose significant time. And I think that he kinda views regular walk breaks as quitting or failure. I have no such illusions. In my view it allows me to complete and feel great success. My goal is completing a marathon, not running one. I hope over the next few weeks to show him that this works for me and it will enable me to my goal time of 4:30 (during which I would have run for four hours and walked for 26 minutes--I think that qualifies as running). Did I mention my running partner is skeptical? Just wanted to make sure you knew that!

Tuesday--3 miles (0.00.00)
Yeah, today was a bad, bad, BAD. I woke up crabby and it didn't get better. I was supposed to run first thing in the morning with Eric, but that didn't happen. Then I thought that I would run later in the day--so I made sure to fuel up with great runner's food: two yesterdogs, chips, and a pop (K's choice--it was her lunch date with mommy). After feeling sufficiently crabby, I was slightly looking forward to a run with Eric after he returned home from work, BUT we had a bit of a non-communication and that didn't happen. So essentially, I didn't run today.
But if I had to be completely honest. I didn't want to. It sounded like unpleasant, inconvenient, hard work. And it was not appealing. I was already tired from a couple nights of broken sleep thanks to not-sleeping-well-children and then there were some unexpected hormonal challenges that popped up to make me more anxious, crabby and irrational. All this combined in ugly form to prevent me from running.
To this point in my life, I have never used hormones and PMS as an excuse for things--maybe my temper would flare up, but I would accept responsibility for that and do my best to avoid aggravating situations or control my emotions. However, the reality that I was knocked on my butt by testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, makes me say to myself, "Am I getting that old? Is this going to happen through the next few months? How do I deal with this yet give myself the grace to not?" Arrggh, sometimes these things are frustrating and unresolvable. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday--3 miles (30.24--10.10/10.04/10.10)
Did you read those numbers? Go back and read them again. Did you catch what they said? Nope, well, let me spell it out for you--I cut 1 minute off my run time on a day that I felt slow, sluggish and completely unmotivated. My feet hurt because I had been wearing my running shoes all day and I was/am tired. But I ran faster! How? Well, I walked--a total of two minutes in there--one minute after mile one and one minute after mile two! I didn't lose a ton of seconds from lap to lap. And after I was done, although I had worked hard and kept up a tough pace, especially during the 2nd mile, I felt okay--not fall on my back or lean over to catch my breath tired, but okay--spent and worn, but okay.
I am definitely buying into this whole run/walk thing. It works for me (sorta like H**ked on Ph*nics!).
And while I don't think that he can admit it yet, I think Eric may be warming to this idea, especially since I am excited and think that it works for me. I kinda wonder if it helped him run a quick last mile--even though he is still catching up from a night of work a couple days ago. He said that he was pleased (read: surprised) at the time he came up with.

Friday--8 miles (1:27:16)
What? Did I hear that correctly? Did my running partner say "thank you" for the walk breaks today? Because I am pretty sure that's what I heard--and am relishing in it. I think I'll make a believer out of him after all!
So this morning, we got up and ran 8 miles--well, we ran for 10 minutes and walked for one. There were two untimed drink/potty breaks (at the library, not the woods). You know this was a big one for me because not only did I go my farthest distance, but I also did another first--I ran without my ipod. The whole time. Eric and I actually talked some and concentrated at other times. You know what, it wasn't that bad. There were times when I am pretty sure that I could have used some music as motivation, some extra beat to push us along, but all in all, it was okay.
Also two things to note. The pace we had today was essentially the same as last Saturday's 10K pace, but I didn't hate today's run nor did I want to collapse when I finished. I had a couple little aches, but all in all, it was good. I am pleased with our time and although there are times when I felt we were plodding a little, there were also times when we picked up the pace, especially towards the end when Eric really wanted to be done.
Secondly, I must give HUGE props to Eric for this run. He didn't want to go. He didn't even want to get out of bed this morning. He definitely wanted to quit early and cut a couple miles out. He didn't want to speed up. But he did, the whole time. And he is a trooper. Thanks sweetie. I am proud of you for today. You see, Eric has done a couple of overnight cases this week and has not had enough time to recuperate from the lack of sleep, so it was a pretty tired Eric who dragged his butt out of bed this morning to join me.
Finally, I am wondering how much attention to pay to little aches and pains. Part of the reason that I have my ipod when I run is because I have this terrible habit of thinking a bad thing too long--i.e. the ache in my shin is a shin splint and it's going to turn into a stress fracture and I am not going to be able to run or I feel an ache in my Achilles, it's going to pop and then I'll be off my feet for months. You know, unhealthy obsession and worry. But I started to have aches which I figure is just the result of hard work but am nervous become something worse. So what do I do? Where do I find information? Ack! Too many questions, few trustworthy answers.

Week Total--14 miles (Honestly, we're all screwed up because of the holiday--but at least the long run got in! Seriously, only two miles short. Next week 18 miles!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Umm, I think the word slacker applies to me in these last two days. I haven't had a desire to do much of anything useful, particularly run. I have been letting little excuses rule and consequently, haven't had my 2nd run of the week. (i'm trying to work up the gumption to go this afternoon!) But, I've pinpointed the source of said slacker-hood--umm, shall we chalk it up to a chemical abundance raging through me these couple days? I've have never liked to make excuses for myself based on a phyiscal reality for most women my age, but man. Also, if this happens every month, I'm afraid that the results are going to an ill-prepared me to run a race I really want.

Honestly, I'm not too worried, just wanted to be honest, mostly with myself.